Volume 5.08 | Mar 2

     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
TOP STORY

Doing the Neuron Tango; Researchers Learn More About Interactions in the Cortex
Focusing on the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain controlling thought, sensory awareness, and motor function, researchers have
discovered that excitatory neurons control the positioning of inhibitory neurons in a process that is critically important for generating balanced circuitry and proper cortical response. [Press release from Harvard University discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Stem Cells May Provide New Treatment for Children with Severe Brain Injuries 
For children with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), transplantation of stem cells derived from the patients’ own bone marrow is a “logistically feasible and safe” treatment procedure. The study paves the way for further research to evaluate whether treatment with autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells can enhance brain recovery after TBI in children. [Press release from Wolters Kluwer Health discussing online prepublication in Neurosurgery]

Compound Blocks Brain Cell Destruction in Parkinson’s Disease
Scientists have produced the first known compound to show significant effectiveness in protecting brain cells directly affected by Parkinson’s disease. [Press release from The Scripps Research Institute discussing online prepublication in ACS Chemical Neuroscience]

Stem Cell Study Could Aid Motor Neurone Disease Research
Scientists have discovered a new way to generate human motor nerve cells in a development that will help research into motor neurone disease. A team has created a range of motor neurons from human embryonic stem cells in the laboratory. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Nature Communications]

Immune Molecule Regulates Brain Connections
The number of connections between nerve cells in the brain can be regulated by an immune system molecule, according to a new study. The research reveals a potential link between immunity, infectious disease and conditions such as schizophrenia or autism. [Press release from UC Davis discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

NIH-Funded Study Shows Early Brain Effects of HIV in Mouse Model
The study demonstrates that HIV infection of the nervous system leads to inflammatory responses, changes in brain cells, and damage to
neurons. This is the first study to show such neuronal loss during initial stages of HIV infection in a mouse model. [Press release from the National Institutes of Health discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]


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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Fat Cells Reactivate Quiescent Neuroblasts via TOR and Glial Insulin Relays in Drosophila
Here researchers provide in vivo evidence that Slimfast amino-acid sensing and Target of rapamycin (TOR) signalling activate a fat-body-derived signal required for neuroblast reactivation. [Nature]

MHCI Negatively Regulates Synapse Density During the Establishment of Cortical Connections
Major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) molecules modulate activity-dependent refinement and plasticity. Researchers found that MHCI also negatively regulates the density and function of cortical synapses during their initial establishment both in vitro and in vivo. [Nat Neurosci]

Excitatory Projection Neuron Subtypes Control the Distribution of Local Inhibitory Interneurons in the Cerebral Cortex
Researchers report that different subtypes of projection neurons uniquely and differentially determine the laminar distribution of cortical interneurons. [Neuron]

Neural Stem/Progenitors and Glioma Stem-Like Cells have Differential Sensitivity to Chemotherapy
Newer chemotherapy agents erlotinib (ERL) and bortezomib (BTZ) are effective against glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) yet produce minimal effects on neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs), while the older drugs temozolomide (TMZ) and cisplatin (CIS) are more toxic for NSCs than for GSCs. [Neurology]

Continuous Live Imaging of Adult Neural Stem Cell Division and Lineage Progression In Vitro
To observe adult neural stem cell division and lineage progression independent of their niche, researchers isolated cells from the adult mouse subependymal zone and cultured them at low density without growth factors. [Development]

Fbxw7-Dependent Degradation of Notch is Required for Control of Stemness and Neuronal-Glial Differentiation in Neural Stem Cells
The results implicate Fbxw7 as a key regulator of the maintenance and differentiation of neural stem cells in the brain. [J Biol Chem]

Characterization of Nerve Conduits Seeded with Neurons and Schwann Cells Derived from Hair Follicle Neural Crest Stem Cells
In this study a tissue engineered nerve conduit for repairing of peripheral nerve defects was devised and characterized in vitro. [Tissue Eng Part A]

Purmorphamine Increases DARPP-32 Differentiation in Human Striatal Neural Stem Cells through the Hedgehog Pathway
The results demonstrate that small synthetic molecules can play a pivotal role in directing the differentiation of neural stem cells to optimise their therapeutic potential in Huntington’s disease. [Stem Cells Dev]

Autologous Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cell Therapy for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Children
The objective of this study was to determine whether autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells are a safe treatment for severe TBI in children. [Neurosurgery]

Retinoid-Independent Motor Neurogenesis from Human Embryonic Stem Cells Reveals a Medial Columnar Ground State
Here researchers investigate the necessity for retinoic acid in motor neurogenesis from human embryonic stem cells. [Nat Commun]

JNK Inhibition Protects Dopamine Neurons and Provides Behavioral Improvement in a Rat 6-Hydroxydopamine Model of Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers developed an aminopyrimidine JNK inhibitor (SR-3306) that reduced the loss of dopaminergic cell bodies in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and their terminals in the striatum produced by unilateral injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the nigrostriatal pathway. [ACS Chem Neurosci]

INDUSTRY NEWS

NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals Closes $12.4M Series B Round
NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NeuroPhage), a privately held biotechnology company developing a protein disaggregation platform for
treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, announced that it has secured $12.4 million in Series B financing, which will be mostly directed to the IND-enabling activities in preparation of a Phase 1 clinical trial for NPT001, NeuroPhage’s lead product candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and include further work to expand the platform. [Neurophage Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Press Release]

Zalicus Publishes Data on Sodium Channel Compound in Pain Models
Zalicus Inc. announced the publication of preclinical data in the journal PAIN. The paper describes the activity of Z212, a novel
proprietary small organic compound that acts to modulate Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 sodium channels and to reduce neuropathic pain by targeting the hyper-excitability associated with chronic pain signaling pathways. [Zalicus Inc. Press Release]

BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Raises $3.6 Million from Institutional and Private Investors in Equity Financing 
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc., a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies and therapeutics, announced that it has entered into
securities purchase agreements with certain institutional and other investors in connection with a private placement financing in reliance upon Regulation S. [BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. Press Release]

Neuralstem Announces First Subject Dosed in NSI-189 Safety Testing Toward Major Depressive Disorder Trial
Neuralstem, Inc. announced that the first subject was dosed in a Phase Ia trial to evaluate the safety of its drug, NSI-189, which
is being developed for the treatment of major depressive disorder and other psychiatric indications. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]

Stem Cell Facility Expands Campus’ Research Capabilities
The University of California, Merced, celebrates the opening of its state-of-the-art Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry, made possible through
the support of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and Ed and Jeanne Kashian of Fresno. [University of California, Merced Press Release]

Lilly’s Neuroscience Research Chief Resigns
The head of Eli Lilly’s research into Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and other neurological diseases is unexpectedly leaving the company.
[The Wall Street Journal]

POLICY NEWS

National Institutes of Health (United States)

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (United States)

European Medicines Agency (European Union)

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)

EVENTS

NEW Neurizons 2011 – From Molecules to Mind: Making Sense of the Brain
May 25-28, 2011
Gottingen, Germany

Visit our events page to see a complete list of events in the neural cell community.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Lab Technologist – Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (STEMCELL Technologies)

Assistant Professor (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering)

PhD Position – Interaction of Nanoparticles with Neural Stem- and Tissue-type Cells (Inst. of Experimental Medicine of Hungarian Acad. Sci. /NanoToes International Training Network)

Stem Cell Biology Scientist (Stanford University)

Tenure Track Faculty Positions in Neuroscience (Mount Sinai School of Medicine)

Field Applications Specialist – Cell Therapy (Pall Corporation) 

Chair in Stem Cell Neurobiology (Cardiff University)

Research Position on Imaging Neurodegeneration (Singapore Bioimaging Consortium)

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